Better broadband boon as thousands of Norfolk homes and businesses set to get superfast connections at least three months early

The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme is set to bring an early bonus to thousands of people living and working in the county as around 30 locations are due to get faster broadband at least three months ahead of schedule. 

The first communities to benefit from the partnership between Norfolk County Council and BT will be upgraded to high-speed (24Mbps and above) fibre broadband between July and September. The partnership had originally pledged that the first locations would be enabled by the end of 2013. 

Around 3,500 homes and businesses will be able to access better broadband sooner than anticipated due to engineers being able to identify areas where BT’s existing fibre infrastructure could be quickly extended. 
Work is already underway to extend these networks and high speeds are set to become available in stages over three months in parts of towns and villages including Ditchingham, Emneth, Gressenhall, Gorleston, Holt, South Wootton and Thetford. For a full list of place names that will be the first to benefit from the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme, see notes to editors. 

The roadside fibre broadband cabinets that are being connected to the new network serve very localised areas, so in each location only certain parts of the towns and villages will be able to receive faster broadband speeds. As the services become available from July, people will be able to check whether their home or business can receive better broadband services as a result via the Better Broadband for Norfolk website (www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk).

These first locations are in addition to the dozens more roadside fibre broadband cabinets due to be connected later this year, and announcements about these will be made every two months once survey work has been completed. 

The partnership builds on BT’s own commercial plans, which have already made high-speed fibre broadband available to 125,000 Norfolk homes and businesses. 

George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This news is such a huge bonus for Norfolk and I’m sure lots of people living in these communities will eagerly take up these faster broadband services as soon as they become available over the next few months. The sooner we start improving broadband access in Norfolk, the sooner our county, its residents and its businesses can reap the benefits, so I’m really pleased that BT and our Better Broadband for Norfolk team seized this opportunity to bring forward these locations. The next, much larger phase is still on track for later this year too, so by the end of 2013 our broadband landscape will be starting to look very different.” 

Dave Hughes, BT’s East of England regional director, said: “We are working hard to make high-speed fibre broadband available as quickly as possible. This is an exciting time for Norfolk and the beginning of a journey. 
“This ambitious project will boost the productivity of local businesses and help to attract a more diverse range of high-growth companies to the area as well as offering new training, educational and entertainment opportunities for households. It will play a major role in creating greater prosperity for the county.” 

The £41 million deal between BT and the County Council means that over 80 per cent of Norfolk’s homes and businesses are expected to be able to access high-speed fibre broadband services (24Mbps and above) by the end of 2015, with the intention of providing all homes and businesses in Norfolk with access to a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps (also by the end of 2015). 

BT’s local network business, Openreach, will install the fibre network which will be open to all companies offering broadband services on an equal basis*. Households and businesses in Norfolk will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from the service provider of their choice. 

Fibre broadband benefits include users being able to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. 
Computer processing and storage of files will also become more sophisticated and secure using ‘cloud computing’ technology. There will be faster back-up of computer systems and wider use of high quality videoconferencing within businesses and between them and their customers. 

More detailed information on the roll-out is also be available at the website www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk 


Notes to editors 

Full list of towns and villages which contain areas that are set to be able to receive services made possible by the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme between July and September. Please note that not all homes and businesses in the towns and villages listed will receive better broadband services. 
• Baconsthorpe 
• Bayfield 
• Bodham 
• Broome 
• Costessey 
• Cringleford 
• Croxton 
• Ditchingham 
• East Beckham 
• Emneth 
• Gorleston 
• Great Yarmouth, more specifically: South Denes Enterprise Zone, Yarmouth Business Park on Thamesfield Way, parts of the town to the east of Hall Quay, South Quay and North Quay and Southgates Road plus areas centred around the bus depot on Caister Road. 
• Gresham 
• Gressenhall 
• Hempstead 
• Hethersett 
• Holt 
• King’s Lynn, more specifically: some areas of Bentinck Dock, north of Crossbank Road, south of Gayton Road, west of Railway and St James’ Roads and either side of John Kennedy Road. 
• Letheringsett 
• Little Thornage 
• Lower Bodham 
• Norwich, more specifically: some areas west of Woodside Rd, south of Cantley Lane, either side of Cantley Lane South, west of Riverside Road, north of Queen’s Road and south of St Crispin’s Road. 
• Saxlingham 
• Scarning 
• South Wootton 
• Thetford, more specifically: Mundford Road Trading Estate, Threxton Road Industrial Estate and some areas north of Norwich Road. 
• Thorpe End 
• Upper Sheringham 
• West Beckham